A conservative South Carolina lawmaker and gun rights advocate was arrested on Monday after allegedly pointing a gun at his wife and striking her in the face. On Tuesday, Rep. Chris Corley posted a $20,000 bond for his two felony charges of first-degree domestic violence and pointing a firearm at a person.
The Aiken Standard reports that police responded to the 36-year-old Republican’s home in Graniteville where his wife said Corley punched her and threatened her life while their two children were in the home. His wife told police the altercation took place after she caught him cheating.
“According to police, [his wife] said Corley only stopped assaulting her because he heard kids screaming and noticed blood coming from her head.”
Corley’s wife said after the physical altercation was over, he pointed a Smith & Wesson handgun at her then went into the bedroom and wanted to commit suicide. Corley’s wife and children fled the home to a family member’s house across the street. Corley told police that his wife attempted to punch him and scratched his forehead as he pushed her away.
— Maayan Schechter (@MaayanSchechter) December 27, 2016
Corley received national attention early in his political career for supporting the Confederate battle flag. In 2015, CBS News reported that Corley sent Christmas cards to Republican state legislators after the flag was removed from the Statehouse earlier that year. The card suggested his fellow Republicans use the holiday as a time to ask for forgiveness of their sins after betraying the Confederate flag.
“If somebody’s feelings are legitimately hurt about that Christmas card, I think that might speak more to their conscience than the content of the card,” he said at the time.
Corley was elected in 2014 and was interviewed by the Aiken Standard before serving his first term in office. Corley weighed in on South Carolina’s domestic violence problem, which has ranked as one of the nation’s deadliest states for women, and the steps he plans on taking in office.
“‘The domestic violence issue in South Carolina, I don’t know if that’s something government can completely fix,’ Corley said. ‘As far as what we can do as the government, you know, stiffer mandatory penalties. I don’t know that saying you can’t have a gun because you get convicted of domestic violence, I don’t know if that’s going to stop someone from future domestic violence.'”
The South Carolina Democratic Party issued a statement after Corley’s arrest saying the state must do more to fight domestic violence.
“Domestic violence and abuse is not something to politicize or take lightly,” the statement said. “Today’s disturbing news reminds us that our state has a lot more work to do to eliminate the scourge of domestic violence, which claims the lives of more than 40 South Carolina women every year.”
Republican State Sen. Greg Gregory also weighed in on the news on Twitter.
Appears they’ll be one less “good guy with a gun” in the General Assembly when it convenes next week.
— Sen. Greg Gregory (@KlughGregory) December 28, 2016
Corley will be suspended from the House if he’s indicted on a felony charge. South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Matt Moore said in an email to the Post And Courier that he hopes the legal process is swift and his thoughts are with the family.
“I trust the legal system to deal with these disturbing charges against Rep. Corley in a timely manner,” he said. “Until then, our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and children.”
Corley is due in court on February 10. If convicted, Corley is facing a sentence of up to 10 years in prison for first-degree domestic violence and up to five years in prison for the gun charge.
[Featured Image by John Bazemore/AP Images]